Nusa Dua, Bali. Indonesia's recent effort at reforming its fishing business and implementing sustainable investment principles in the industry will lead to a long-term increase in catch and profit for the domestic fishing industry, the preliminary result of an ongoing study by research think-tank Sustainable Fisheries Group at the University of California Santa Barbara showed.
"Over-exploitation and IUU (Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated) fishing are major concerns for the future of Indonesia's fishing industry, threatening the livelihood of 20 million Indonesians who rely on fishing. However, management reform will considerably increase catch and profit relative to what they are now," the group wrote in a short report to the Ministry, made available to the press on Wednesday (23/02).
The study, conducted in cooperation with the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries in the past two years, showed that reform and investment will lead to a profit $3.7 billion higher by 2050 than if the government decides to do nothing.
The amount of fish in Indonesia's oceans, or "fish biomass," will more than triple, allowing Indonesian fishermen to double their catch in the best case scenario.
In the worst case scenario, Indonesia ramps up investment without pursuing reform. This will lead to a steep profit increase that peaks at around $6 billion in 2022, before an inevitable deterioration in the fish biomass.
"This [study] shows that an environmental policy, even if it's a good one, will only result in an increase of [fish] population," Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti said.
The minister said other countries should join Indonesia's fight against illegal fishing to complement their pro-environment policies.
Indonesia had already banned trawl fishing in 2014 and imposed a size limit for crab catch. Susi also headed a joint force on illegal fishing that has caught and drowned hundreds of illegal fishing boats from neighboring China, Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines and Malaysia.
The University of California study showed the crackdown has already succeeded.
A study of Indonesia's skip jack tuna population showed fewer illegal fishing and investment on small-scale local fleet have reduced skip jack fishing by 25 percent.
But in the long term, these government-led moves will lead to 25 percent more skip jack catch and 22 percent more profit by 2035.
Another assessment on blue swimmer crabs' population said the trawl ban and catch size limit of 100 mm carapace width can increase trap fishers' profit by 14 percent in 20 years.